Thali Menu #132 – Kashmir | Winter Foods
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent, it has been described by famous Persian poet Amir Khusru “as a paradise on earth”, also called the ‘Switzerland of the East’.
Historically, Kashmir became known worldwide when Cashmere wool was exported globally. Kashmiris are adept at knitting and making Pashmina shawls, silk carpets, rugs, kurtas, and pottery. Saffron, too, is cultivated and exported from Kashmir. The region is also known for its silver-work, papier-mâché, wood-carving, and the weaving of silk.
‘Kashur khyon’ or Kashmiri Cuisine is influenced by its geographical position, cultural, religious traditions. Wazwan is a multi-course feast and is synonymous with Kashmiri Cuisine.
‘Zaika-e-Kashmir’ – ‘Tastes of Kashmir’
The region offers a wide array of food items, particularly authentic non-veg cuisines made of chicken, mutton and fish, some of which has become hugely popular across the nation and globally like the Rogan Josh, Kashmiri Pulao or Phirni or Phiren.
The Kashmiri cuisine also prides itself for some exquisite vegetarian dishes mostly influenced by the traditional cuisines of the Kashmiri Pundit (Brahmin) community and the Mughlai cuisines.
Generally, Kashmiri cuisines, most of which are marked with ample use of saffron, turmeric, and yogurt are quite rich in flavour and mild in taste with curries that are light.
Spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and fennel which are generally considered to warm the body are used widely in different Kashmiri cuisines, while garlic and onion are not used much.
Dry fruits are also used extensively in different Kashmiri dishes, especially in preparing curries.
Due to its harsh geographic and climatic conditions dried fruits, vegetables, fish and meats formed an integral part of Kashmiri cuisine through the long winter season, that is changing today with fresh fruits and vegetables becoming more accessible all year round.
At Daana this weekend, you will be savouring some delicacies from the region that are traditionally considered to be winter foods. So, come join us and relish the flavours of this most scenic part of India.
Recipe of the week
All Time Favourite- Bengali Classic Chutney
Tomato Khejur'r Chutney
A Bengali classic- Sweet-spicy tomato chutney with dates and dried fruits.
- 500 gms tomatoes
- 40 gms pitted dates
- 40 gms raisins
- 25 gms cashew
- 400 gms sugar
- Salt to taste
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp mustard oil
- 1 pc dried red chilli
- ½ tsp panch phoron
- ½ tsp citric acid
- Wash and dice the tomatoes. Split the Dates length-wise.
- Heat mustard oil in a pan, and temper it with dried red chilli and ‘panch phoron’.
- Add the tomatoes, along with the salt and turmeric, and cook them, covered until the tomatoes are completely soft and mushy. Add ½ tsp of citric acid now and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the cashew and sugar, at this stage with the addition of the sugar the colour of the chutney will start to change from pale to a deep red. Once that has happened, stir in the raisins, dates, and bring to boil and then simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Remember to remove it from the heat while it is still thin because it will thicken once cooled.
- You can store this chutney as a preserve too, in which case, allow it to cool completely before you pour it into an airtight container and refrigerate. It can last for up to 2 months.